Jun 19th, 2009 by Richard
At one of the sessions at TRAFFIC New York 2008, Brad Geisen and Rick Schwartz talked about the sale of Property.com and how it was a perfect fit. If you missed the announcement, please read Rick’s press release.
I’ve got to admit that the sale to Foreclosure.com sounded like a perfect fit. I was looking forward to seeing Property.com turn into a super-charged version of Foreclosure.com
Geisen said this about the acquisition of Property.com:
I’m going after the 98 percent of the real estate market outside of the foreclosure business.
Sorry Brad, you’re not going to get anything close to 98 percent with the current site!
Fast forward eight months
TRAFFIC NYC was in October 2008, and here we are in June 2009.
Geisen also revealed the new Property.com will be unveiled sometime in 2009.
I’m not sure if the current version of Property.com is the “new” one but the site looks like 12,000 parked pages to me.
I think the boys can do a much better, and here’s how.
The site structure is a train wreck. There are several changes that could make things much more SE friendly and SEO’d. This would lead to higher ranking in the SE’s and more visitors, of course.
1. Property.com has a duplicate content problem that will always hold the site back from ranking. Both www.property.com and property.com resolve to the same content. Just do a 301 redirect of property.com to www.property.com and the problem is solved forever.
2. The category slugs could be much more SE friendly and user friendly as well. Instead of using
/properties.php?state=FL&cno=086&city=Miami to link to your page for property in Miami, FL, use this:
3. The listing slugs should also be changed from
/details/1848858/ to something more descriptive like:
[NOTE: Most of the category slugs are not ranking at all in google right now because they are not SE friendly]
I’ve written about page structure before. The site is getting no SEO power right now. But with some simple changes to the headings, titles and descriptions, everything can be fixed.
1. There is an H1 heading of “Property.com” on all pages on the site. Most likely the SE’s are not giving any weight to this heading on the inner pages of the site. Instead, use an H3 of Property.com on every page and then on each listing page use an H1 of the category such as “Property for sale in Miami, FL” and then an H2 of the listing title such as “8911 N. Bayshore Drive - Miami, FL”. This tells the SE’s that your single listing page is about property for sale, in Miami, FL and what the address is. And with the H1 of “Property for sale in Miami, FL” on many listing pages (but not the whole site) it tells the SE’s that your site has relevance for “Property for sale in Miami, FL”. Neat heh?
2. The page
title tags should be changed from “8911 N. Bayshore Drive - Miami, FL Property For Sale - Property.com” to something more user friendly and SE friendly such as: “Property for sale in Maimi, FL - 8911 N. Bayshore Drive”
meta-description tag is the same for all the listings: “Add your property for free on Property.com. Find real estate properties for sale at Property.com”. Whoops! I’d recommend changing it to something unique to each listing page, and also something informative for the visitors. The first 120 characters of the listing description is a good choice because it has relevance to the listing page content and also gives the SE visitors an enticement to click the link when looking at all the other SE results on the page.
[NOTE: To see how mangled the titles and descriptions are in google, try this google search and look at the listings about half way down the page]
As noted above, the category and listing pages do not have SE friendly slugs, so the internal linking of Property.com is not as strong as it could be.
Once you’ve fixed the slugs, you should link to new slugs of
/US/New-Hampshire/ etc from the bottom of your pages. For example, I’d add navigation at the bottom of all the listing pages for “Florida” with links to
/US/Florida/Tampa/ etc. And I’d use anchor text of “More Florida Properties”, “More Miami Florida Properties”, “More Tampa Florida Properties” etc.
[NOTE: The homepage of Property.com shows 624,000 listings, yet google is only showing about 12,000 pages, so 600,000+ pages are missing. There is lots of room for improvement on the internal linking side of things!]
Finally, I can stop bitching about stuff!
1. The site navigation is sparse but it works. The “golden triangle” is being followed nicely.
2. The search features of the site are good. They’re pretty easy to use and there are several ways to access them. (It’s a good plan to give your visitors several ways to do the same thing)
The only user experience improvement that I would do is to add links to “popular searches” and “recently added listings” to the top of the page or the navigation. For a site like Property.com the visitors would be more likely to click and browse a lot more than use the search functions.
That’s all. Enjoy!